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No Escaping Twitter, Even on TV


Fox will add 140-character updates from cast and crew to upcoming shows.

Live tweets will now be aired during repeats.

The summer months tend to be a time of ratings doldrums for the major networks. If not for summer replacement programming appealing to the lowest common denominator -- obese dating show More to Love lumbers to mind -- the prime time lineups would be a sea of repeats and the occasional promotional gimmick.

So the Fox Network (NWS) has combined the two to fend itself against the scarcity of viewers during the pre-fall season.

This week, Fox will be airing reruns of its programs Fringe and Glee with an added twist: Live Twitter updates from cast members and producers. Annoyingly dubbed "tweet-peats," the encore presentations will feature scrolling tweets on the bottom of the screen given by the folks behind each show.

By and large, the messages will be like a text-based commentary track, giving insight to the making of the episode and answering fan questions -- kind of like Pop Up Video without the sharp wit.

Fox encourages Twitter users to begin following the shows' official accounts -- FRINGEonFOX and GLEEonFOX -- where the updates will also be featured in real-time. Fans will be able to ask show members questions via their Twitter accounts, but don't make it too hard for the moderators: TechCrunch reports that only select tweets will be featured on air.

So questions such as "Have you any idea why Arrested Development was canceled and THIS show is still on???" are probably best left for online message boards.

Although unique to prime time, instant user interaction has been popular with cable programming for years. News programs that have answered hastily written emails since the '90s have now begun to embrace the Twitter trend.

And when chat rooms hit their zenith over a decade ago, MTV (VIA) and VH1 sometimes featured live chat scrolling beside their venerable shows -- giving viewers a chance to provide (moderated) commentary in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Until Fox allows that level of snark during its original programming, viewers will have to settle for the stale comments from cast and crew.

The tweet-peats of Fringe and Glee air this Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m., respectively.
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